1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Zentangle Diva Challenge #236 – Is Conformity Overrated? Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on July 24, 2017 · 23 comments

Prime Meridian. Greenwich, England

This week’s guest Zentangle Diva is Elisa Murphy, one of the Diva’s classmates from their Certified Zengangle Teacher (CZT) training. Elisa challenges us to do a monotangle, using only the tangle N’zeppel. Phewhhhh.

“Phewhhhh” is a phonetic rendition of the sound I made in my mind when I realized the tangle in question is one with which I am not only comfortable, but one of my favorite “go to” tangles for filling in awkward spaces.


My “Nzeppel monotangle.

Speaking of awkward spaces, the other part of Elisa’s challenge is for us to:

Think about when you last felt like you didn’t fit in….

This part of the assignment is also fairly easy for me because I have made not fitting in an art form. Of course, I blame my parents for driving home the message, “We don’t look at other people.” They forgot the part about other people looking at us.

Prime Meridian. Greenwich, England

Gratuitous photo of me straddling the Prime Meridian in Greeenwich, England. My red shirt is evidence I have overcome some of my childhood strictures in my wardrobe color choices.

In high school, I was an oboe playing, orthopedic shoes wearing, horrible glasses possessing nerd. To complete the catastrophe, my father was an artist who hated bright colors. Hence, my very limited wardrobe consisted of frumpy clothes in varying shades of brown, gray, black, and olive green if I were feeling daring.

Fortunately, I attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls, an academic magnet school in Philly, so being at least somewhat nerdy was expected—maybe even required. The orthopedic shoes, horrible glasses, drab clothes thing—-not so much.

Lest I get too comfortable in my high school nerd herd, when I was 15 in 11th grade, my father took us to live in England for a year where he was an exchange teacher.

Being an American in a small town in Wiltshire in 1969, I might as well have had “DIFFERENT” tattooed on my forehead. Fortunately, my years of being admonished not to look at what other people had or what other people were doing inoculated me some to be able to survive this experience without devastating long term consequences for my psyche. It only had minor long term consequences for my psyche. (Insert winking emoji here).

Saint James' Church, Devizes, Wiltshire, England

Saint James’ Church in Devizes, the Wiltshire, England town where we lived in 1969-70. The first church at the site dates from 1130. I took this photo during a tripping down Memory Lane return visit last fall.

Since writing is one of the things I do when I’m not tangling, a few years ago, I wrote a blog post about an experience I had as a teenager in England that is perfect for the not fitting in part of Elisa’s challenge. You can read it here.

Do you think Zentangle attracts people who are “different”?

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

ria matheussen July 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Yes Suzanne, I think Zentangle attracts people who are different but there is nothing wrong about that.
I know you have my age and I can assure you: you are looking very good at the moment, so don’t worry. What others “could” think about you is not important.
I’m glad to draw again, now and than, it is better with my back but I have to take care.
Nice flowery ‘N Zeppel tile with sweet colors!


Patti July 24, 2017 at 5:29 pm

But, when you look back at that year in England (and time spent in Mexico as well if I remember correctly) are you grateful for the experience of being taken out of your “nerd herd”

Wait… you were 15 in your Jr. year? Did you graduate at 16? That’s young!


Suzanne Fluhr July 24, 2017 at 8:03 pm

I am grateful. Yes, there was a year in Mexico too when I was 9-10. I turned 16 at the end of April of my junior year in high school in England. I turned 17 soon before high school graduation. In retrospect, I was a baby. 😉


Jean Chaney July 25, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Isn’t it fun to read everyone enjoying a tangle this week? I always compared the not fitting in thing to mismatched paper dolls. I loved playing with paper dolls but sometimes the baby was the same size as the adult. I have often felt that way when out of my element. However, being very comfortable in my own skin, finally, has made this more funny than upsetting.


Trudi July 25, 2017 at 3:39 pm

I can remember ever feeling like I didn’t fit in, not sure if this is just age (I’m the first year of the boomers) or selective memory. I know I was nervous in some situations but I always figured things would turn out ok and they apparently did. I used to be very friendly and outgoing now I’m just more laid back. We took our kids to England for a 6 months sabbatical and they had a great time sorry to hear about your experience.

Lovely N’Zeppel, I put a Paradox in mine it just looked lonely all by itself, so much for a mono-tangle.


Suzanne Fluhr July 25, 2017 at 4:54 pm

I think I conveyed the wrong impression. The year in England was mostly positive. My parents did succeed in teaching me not to judge myself by measuring myself against others and I was a serious student at home in the US, so I just continued that in England. I still have friends from my time as a 15-16 year old in England with whom I’ve reconnected on FB. We’ve had the chance to meet in person too. Ironically, one of them ended up married to an American and lived in the US for 30 years.


Pat Floerke July 25, 2017 at 5:16 pm

I love your monotangle. I love your use of colors to define different sections, and I love the fact that your ‘nzeppel shapes are different than the way I do them. And thanks for sharing your story — that’s going to turn out to be one of the most fun parts of this week’s challenge.


Charlotte Carpentier July 25, 2017 at 8:55 pm

I do think this art rounds up all of those who fit in around the fringes of a lot of things, and gives us a tribe to belong to. Look at all the cool, fun, interesting people I have met over the past 3 years. And I love N’zepple too. And…I am jealous you got to live in England. I had to import my punk phase from there so I could rebel in Southern Arizona. Talk about not fitting in.


Suzanne Fluhr July 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm

We lived in England before the punk phase. I remember having to fly through Heathrow Airport in the early 90’s and seeing some extremely punk types at the airport—spiked colored mohawks, piercings, etc. I was quite amazed. When we lived in the England, it was all about Twiggy and mini skirts. I was very happy to have to wear a school uniform. For once, everyone’s clothes were as drab as mine. The first time I appeared at the door ready to leave for school wearing my school tie, my mother saluted me.


Nan July 26, 2017 at 12:23 am

I have it on good authority that inside you are a radical rebel. You’ve proven it over & over through the years I’ve been reading you – and if you’re really not? Shhhh, keep it a secret. Don’t tell anyone. They’ll never know.


Annemarie July 26, 2017 at 2:24 am

I like your tile Suzanne. Your story made me remember my time in high school, when some (quite a few) boys were telling me how I looked: “Your eyes are beautiful but … because of your glasses you cannot see them and your ears are beautiful too but … you cannot see them because your hair is hanging over them”
On top of that I had a friend (?) that always told me to take of my glasses and after I did she told me to put them back on because ‘without you are even uglier’.
Long tome ago that I thought of those memories 🙁


Susie Ng July 26, 2017 at 5:34 am

I fully understand your father dressing you in ‘lame’ colors, which is a great and practical idea. I would have done the same to make sure the clothes never got discolored in the wash. Admit it, they never were, correct? Huge tile and I can see you are not on the warpath with this tangle.


Roz Warren July 26, 2017 at 10:14 am

I sure wish I’d gone to a high school where being nerdy was expected.


Suzanne Fluhr July 26, 2017 at 2:08 pm

At the time, I didn’t realize how unusual it was.


michele July 26, 2017 at 10:50 am

Well…your nzeppel is fab! I love how the grids go from wonky in the center, to radial in the petals, then to proper squares to surround. It’s a great composition.
I never thought about it before but I too believe that Zentangle appeals to those fringe types. I was a total nerd in high school, rebelled for a while with a completely inappropriate boyfriend, one very short marriage (different guy) and then settled into a pursuit of theater art, education and solitary travel. Now in my 50’s I’m content with my art and cat and I feel like I’m the only person in San Francisco who’s heard of Zentangle.


Margarete Gilge July 26, 2017 at 12:13 pm

I do agree, Zentangle is something, which attracts people who are different in one way or another, and that is ok. Often, I sit in the shadow on a bench under a tree near our river and draw. Some people go by and smile. I don’t want to know, what they are thinking. But other people are enchanted by the drawing with these wonderful patterns. I enjoy, to talk with them. Maybe, they are different too.
I like your flowery nice tile in this fresh lovely colors.


Sue Sharp July 26, 2017 at 8:30 pm

I enjoyed reading your blog – made me smile! Great tile!


Carmela Claessens-Soro July 27, 2017 at 11:05 am

Beautiful tile, great colors en nice flower!


Melena July 27, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Suzanne, your ‘Nzeppel monotangle is great! I love the variations and that you actually filled a flower-like pattern. I am seeing how not fitting in is so much more fun and creative. Too bad we didn’t understand that when we were growing up. But then it’s all part of life and growing. I loved your story about not fitting in too.


Duane CZT28 July 27, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Suzanne, your tile looks great. One thing I noticed was the ‘Nzeppel on your tile looks a lot like the cobblestone you are standing on when you were straddling the Greenwich line in England. Something that caught my eye. Your artwork is great.


CCOURTOIS July 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Your tile looks like a very beautiful stained glass window. As Ria i think tangle attracts people who are all differents and somuch better !


Donald Wilka July 29, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Nice work on the ‘Nzeppel monotangle. Your story and the feelings of not fitting in, I think are pretty common, particularly in High School. Being an oboist probably did not help your image either. I remember a number of band jokes, none or which were positive, about the oboe. Thank goodness we do get past that stage.


Suzanne Fluhr July 30, 2017 at 12:10 am

I wish I still played the oboe, but it’s not one of those instruments you can just pick up now and again.


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